Feb. 5-15, 2010
Just back from New Zealand where I attended the conference on Island Invasives: Eradication and Management; some 240 of us from around the world gathered to review the successes and failures of the last 10 years. For conference field trips, i took a pelagic trip from heaven/hell. I went out on the ocean to seek a small seabird that up until 2003 was presumed to be extinct. A few have been seen and I wanted to see and perhaps photograph them. Well I saw 50 New Zealand Storm-Petrels but paid my dues to do so. After a fulfilling day of seeing some and other cool seabirds, we were at our last stop, furtherest from the shore, It had taken us from 830 until 330 to get there. Then the boat battery died. We drifted in the water for 5 hours east of Mokahinau Islands in boisterous seas, and out of radio contact most of the time. Luckily we radioed our position before we lost contact and began to drift. And we heard that another boat was bringing a battery to us. We anxiously awaited our rescue as the skipper cut bait to draw in more birds. The stormies, as the New Zealanders call them, were returning home and we saw plenty more, and in the fading light, we finally saw a rescue boat. We then transfered a battery onboard and she started right up and then beat into the seas for another four hours, reaching the dock at 11pm and I blasted back to my hotel getting in at 1AM, ready for my conference presentation the next afternoon. All's right mate- we made it. And it was worth it, I guess. Note a banded bird in photo 9.